Intel chairman Barrett to retire in May

Intel Corp. chairman Craig Barrett, who steered the company through the dot-com meltdown as CEO and has become a high-profile advocate for expanding computing in the developing world, plans to retire in May, the company said Friday.

Barrett, 69, has spent more than three decades at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel. He served as its fourth CEO, a position he held for seven years until Paul Otellini took over in 2005.

Barrett's tenure as CEO was marked by his commitment to sustaining Intel's aggressive investments in its factories during the tech industry's prolonged slump following the dot-com collapse. The strategy was seen as foolhardy by some investors as Intel's profits shriveled, but it paid off: Intel's cutting-edge factories are critical to maintaining its advantage over rivals like Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and making chips cheaper and more powerful.

In recent years, Barrett has worked with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations on bringing computers and other technologies to developing countries. That role also gave Barrett an opportunity to push the inexpensive Classmate PCs that Intel designed for international schoolchildren. The Classmate has rivaled the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Barrett, who joined Intel in 1974 and has held jobs ranging from technology development manager to various vice president roles, has been chairman since 2005.

He is being replaced by Jane Shaw, a former pharmaceutical-industry executive who has served on Intel's board since 1993. Shaw will serve as non-executive chairman.

Intel is the world's largest semiconductor company, with 80% of the world's market for microprocessors, the brains of personal computers.